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The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #2
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives’ #2 continues to add delightful detail to a massive world

A careful balance of childlike frankness and mythological expansion.

One foundational aspect of Sandman stories since its inception is its implicit acceptance and implementation of any and all of the real world’s spiritual and supernatural beliefs. Whether that means less-remembered deities, largely discarded notions of fairies, or central figures of major religions, the Sandman Universe acknowledges their earnest and true reality. There’s a complex and delicately balanced spiritual cosmology, filled with equally real spooks and specters, vampires and devils.

It feels seamless, then, when our Dead Boy Detectives become embroiled in a mystery surrounding a proliferation of Thai spirits in sunny California. It only makes sense that the fertile spiritual and supernatural beliefs of Southeast Asia hold their own place in that delicate cosmology.

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The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #2
DC Black Label

The novelty of the location of their manifestation is central to Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives; one doesn’t imagine the sleepy California suburbs as a concentration of any sort of strong spiritual movement. Writer Pornsak Pichetshote is by no means a stranger to telling stories about Asian-American communities, of course, and examining the resilience of multifaceted culture against the Great American pressure to westernize. Communities carry their spiritualities with them, and in the Sandman Universe, that means something a lot more literal.

The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #2
DC Black Label

Dead Boy Detectives doesn’t bother itself too much with that East versus West juxtaposition; the problem is much more generational. In proper Dead Boy Detective fashion, the story centers around children, and these children’s commitment to their parents’ and community’s cultural beliefs is fractured.

In this issue, we gain insight into ’90s goth Tanya, the daughter of immigrants who seems more interested in name-dropping The Cure than she was interested in her heritage. It seems that some lost artifact in her mother’s journals might be the key to why these culturally splintered children are coming back as the jarring Thai ghosts they’ve become.

The book pulls off the remarkable feat of balancing Charles and Edwin’s trademark naiveté with spooky splashes of myth, embracing the culture shock of these young British boys as they throw themselves into whatever half-conceived trail of clues they can dream up.

The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #2
DC Black Label

The second issue has doubled down on the creepy and grotesque; artist Jeff Stokely and colorist Miquel Muerto craft a gruesome swarm of disfigured infants, discolored and grasping. These function as the issue’s primary engine of horror and tension as they ravenously move in a single-minded march through the streets in the direction of our heroes.

With its careful balance of childlike frankness, mythological expansion, and escalating terror, Dead Boy Detectives continues the fantastic work of expanding an already expansive narrative masterwork. The work being done, both in this second issue and in the series in general, only adds fine detail to a massive canvas getting stranger and more beautiful with each new installment.

The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #2
‘The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives’ #2 continues to add delightful detail to a massive world
The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #2
Committing to a childlike frankness and a proliferation of Southeast Asian-styled specters, Dead Boy Detectives expands the already prolific mythology of the Universe.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.3
Nails the kids-at-make-believe of the Dead Boys stories before it.
Manages a slow escalation of terror atop a compelling friendship drama.
This issue skimps on the larger Thessaly narrative hinted at last issue.
9
Great
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